Analysis of language mixing in the actual production data of bilingual individuals has permitted us to test and overturn many long-standing assumptions about borrowing and code-switching empirically: borrowing is not monolithic but takes many forms in the speech community; it does not originate as code-switching; integration is not gradual but abrupt; speakers tend not to code-switch individual words but to borrow them. This work has also confirmed that code-switching and borrowing are diametrically opposed, not only structurally but from the perspective of the individuals who engage in them. The observable differences between multiword code-switches and lone other-language items, coupled with the overwhelming preponderance of the latter in every bilingual dataset that has been quantitatively analyzed, together demonstrate that any model of language mixing with pretensions to constituting a “unified” theory of language contact phenomena is in fact a theory of lexical borrowing.
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